recommended Graphics Card

  fhextreme 11:48 06 Jan 2010

Hi all, I have recently purchased a new Packard Bell computer with the following spec (can be viewed through link).

click here

Operating system Genuine Windows (R) 7 Home Premium
Operating system mode 64-bit
Processor brand Intel
Processor model Core 2 Quad
Processor Number Q8300
Processor clock speed 2.5GHz
Processor cache 4MB
RAM memory size 4GB
RAM memory type DDR2
RAM memory clock speed 800MHz
Hard drive capacity 640GB
Hard Drive Spin Speed 7200rpm
First hard drive interface SATA

Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 processor (2.5GHz, 1333MHz FSB, 4MB Cache) Genuine Windows(R) 7 Home Premium 64-bit 4GB DDR2 memory 640GB hard drive NVIDIA GeForce 7100 integrated graphics DVD Rewriter Built-in wireless (802.11b/g)

I would like to be able to play things like empire total war as I have downloaded the demo from steam and it barely plays what so ever.

I know just the basics of computers so really just need a simple answer I.e. a new graphics I can just fit in and it will work without needing to change bios, setting etc etc

I hope someone can advise me, my budget is no more than £100

Thanks for your help


  GaT7 12:42 06 Jan 2010

Well, with integrated graphics it's a wonder that the game even starts up!

The best card you can go for (without having to change the PSU) is a GT240 or HD4670, which is ~£50-60 - see click here & click here (if your order is just under £50, add something for a low cost to take it over the £50 price to be eligible for free delivery. Also change delivery mode to Super Saver at checkout).

Btw, going for a more powerful card will most likely need a PSU upgrade as well, as the graphics card will need separate power from the PSU to function. I don't think your PC's PSU has the requisite connector or enough power for an adapter to be used. G

  GaT7 13:12 06 Jan 2010

Btw, I cannot find any info about the motherboard's expansion slots. It should have a x16 PCI-E graphics slot, but we'll have to check if it does indeed.

Open the case & have a look at the centre of the motherboard. It should have a slot similar to the longer green one in this pic click here (the colour may be different on yours).

Just to be doubly sure, download & run the standalone version of SIW from click here. When it loads, click on System Slots under Hardware in the left pane. In the right pane it should have:

System Slot 1
Name............. PCIEX16
Type............. PCI-X
Data Bus Width... 32-bits
Current Usage.... Available

"I can just fit in and it will work without needing to change bios, setting etc etc"

Yes, just fit it into the slot & secure it to the back panel. Connect the monitor cable to it. On boot up, Win7 is likely to load the necessary drivers for it. But it'll be ideal to download & install the latest drivers from nVidia click here (GT240) / ATI click here (HD4670). G

  GaT7 13:52 06 Jan 2010

I've been doing a little research & it turns out that the GT240 is the better of the two. Review at click here.

Go for a GDDR5 model & a single-slot card (i.e. with a smaller, single-width cooler). This Zotac AMP edition click here (click here) fits the bill on both accounts. G

  fhextreme 14:45 06 Jan 2010

Hi Crossbow, wow thanks for all of your help. I have looked at the slots and it does have what is needed.

would you recommend upgrading the PSU? is it an easy process and would it improve the running of the computer?

Thanks again

  Ozy 15:05 06 Jan 2010

check with PC world, you may void your warranty,
by changing the graphics,i bought a computer from Palicomp,and asked permision to change mine,
they were pleased to grant it

  GaT7 17:37 06 Jan 2010

As I said before, upgrading the PSU is not required unless you go for a more powerful card that needs the 6-pin PCI-E connector.

Changing the PSU (if you decide to anyway) involves disconnecting all the cables from the previous one & unscrewing it from the case. Then placing the new one in & reversing the process. Video guide at click here. (Ask for PSU suggestions if you decide to upgrade).

Before you fit the new graphics card, make sure to disconnect the mains power cord & earth yourself (briefly touching a nearby radiator pipe will do, or do it with the help of an appropriate wrist-strap click here - connect one end to a radiator pipe). G

  fhextreme 14:25 07 Jan 2010

Thanks again for all of your help. I think I will go for the GT 240 if I can get my hands on one. just two final questions if you dont mind. How come when looking on Nvidia's compare and buy of the GT240 they dont all look the same? and also do you think that this computer is good. I mean i paid about £420 for the unit so I hope the answer to the question is yes but jsut in your oppinion :)


  GaT7 14:56 07 Jan 2010

Yes, I think £420 is a fair price for your PC. I tend to compare PCs with equivalent ones at eBuyer as the latter usually offers good value for money. E.g. this one click here is very similar for £390, but with a smaller hard drive. Although this one click here appears better for considerably less! Anyway, let us stop comparing & make do with what we have at present.

"How come when looking on Nvidia's compare and buy of the GT240 they dont all look the same?"

This is because each manufacturer puts their own individual 'spin' on them in terms of varying types/amounts of memory, clock speeds & coolers - all of which affects the final price.

That Zotac one I suggested earlier will do nicely. Or if you want to save money (~£15), go for the cheapest one click here instead - let's hope its fan is not too large for the space you have available. G

  GaT7 15:10 07 Jan 2010

"...just two final questions if you dont mind."

Never be shy to ask all you need to know :-). And there's no such thing as a stupid question. G

  bsgul 16:09 19 Mar 2010

hi,i currently have a 256 mb ddr2 ati radeon x1050 graphics card and i would like to buy a new one under £100.i have a x16 PCI-E slot on a asus P5L-MX motherboard.what graphic card for gaming would you recommend?

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